Essay Using Drones And Digitally Field Mapping Areas

1217 Words Dec 8th, 2016 5 Pages
Dana Point is a city between Los Angeles and San Diego in southern California, but is best known for its harbor. Just north of the harbor lies a rocky beach with large cliffs only tens of meters from the sea, depending on tide level. Cliffs along the coast of southern California are prone to landslides due to their rock composition (mostly sedimentary) and high erosion rates from the sea but become increasingly stressed from overlying man-made structures and landscaping practices. For this reason, it is important to continually monitor the geological hazards that exist along the coast.

One relatively new way to monitor landscape changes over time is by the use of three-dimensional (3D) mapping. Long-term changes can be seen by satellite imagery or measured by GPS stations, while short-term and small scale changes are harder to see. By using drones and digitally field mapping areas, much more can be known about an area than by using traditional methods. An issue pertaining to places like Dana Point is that satellite imagery sees from the top-down, therefore cliff faces are difficult to detect and cannot be monitored over time, aside from elevation changes.

For this project, I developed a 3D digital and print model of the beachside cliffs at Dana Point using pictures captured by a DJI drone. The motivation for this project was to learn how to digitally map and model a location in the field. The location was chosen by my lack of beach trips since moving to…

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